Protecting children's lives through good sanitation
Out of the 3.1 million displaced people in Iraq, approximately half are children. The sustained deadly fighting in Iraq has hit them the hardest. Difficult living conditions, insufficient sanitary facilities and scarce safe drinking water has put displaced children in Iraq at risk of water-borne diseases. The Terre des hommes’ (Tdh) teams have stepped up their efforts to provide vulnerable families and their children with sufficient sanitation facilities and safe drinking water.
In the Salah-Al-Din Governorate, the Tdh teams have identified more than 30,000 displaced families living out of camps with insufficient sanitary facilities and difficult access to safe drinking water. The conditions of internally displaced people further deteriorate with ongoing military operations, persisting sectarian animosities and the ongoing hot season.
“Water supply and sanitation are critical. The fighting against ISIS has partly destroyed water resources management system in the area and some displaced families had to shelter themselves in areas where they are fully dependent on the water trucking, latrines and showers installed by Non-Governmental Organisations,” says Harold Deladerrière, the Tdh Water, Hygiene and Sanitation (WASH) Coordinator.
Displaced children and their families seeking refuge often settle out of camps in unfinished buildings, which are not connected to any sewage system. Children play in the streets full of stagnant waste water. “The environment represents a serious vector for diseases. Families face significant risks of diarrhoea, and water-borne diseases, cholera included,” explains Harold.
Despite the remaining tense security situation in the area, the Tdh teams work hard to reduce the risk of diseases spreading to minimum. To do so, we provide war-affected children and their families with safe drinking water, build cesspools and sewage systems, set up latrines and showers, ensure solid waste collection and organise hygiene promotion activities. “Our WASH teams are currently in Tikrit, Al-Sherqat, Kirkuk, Tal Jarabia and Scorpion Junction. In order to assure sustainability of our efforts, the rehabilitations carried out by Tdh teams on nine water treatment plants within Salah-Al-Din Governorate will also allow us to improve both the quality and the quantity of water provided to the war-affected population in the area,” says Xavier Lauth, the Tdh Programme Coordinator.
The increasing number of displaced families has proved to be extremely challenging in recent months in terms of fulfilling all the needs faced. “The ongoing influx of new arrivals has put more pressure on our resources both human and financial. We can barely meet the needs of all newcomers. However, we try to do our best to provide as much assistance as we can,” adds Xavier.
Thanks to the Tdh’s WASH interventions both on the frontline and the recaptured areas in Iraq, about 90’000 people per day have an access to safe drinking water and 20’000 people can benefit from quality sanitation facilities. With the new upcoming projects, Tdh will be able to continue its WASH activities in the months to come. “Once the war is over, it will take years for public services to resume and to rebuild what was destroyed. Until then, we must make sure that children and their families have sufficient support,” concludes Xavier.
We continue our efforts in the field to support families that are fleeing from IS with the most needed help. You, too, can contribute to this effort by doing an emergency donation.
Photo credit: ©Tdh